The "rune stones" that one uses for divination are a modern invention. Traditionally, "runteinir" (rune sticks or rune lots) used for divination were made of wood. Now we use rune sets made of ceramic, glass, Fimo, cardstock, even plastic. However, the best rune lots for divination are still wood, carved, blooded, and consecrated by the person who will use them.
Real runestones were carved primarily as commemorative markers, either of living people, or loved or respected persons who had died. They were sometimes used as crossroad markers, or to impart messages. A great many of them were destroyed by Christian priests and monks at the time of conversion of each country. The priests viewed them as reminders of the pagan past. More have been broken up for construction material by those who did not recognize their historical significance. The present day hazard is defacement by vandals.
Carved runestones have been found primarily in Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Iceland, with a few others scattered elsewhere. Each year one or two more rune stones are discovered or rediscovered in Sweden.
The map that follows shows the distribution of Viking age commemorative inscriptions on bedrock and rocks fixed in the earth. By far the greatest number of them are found in Oppland in eastern Sweden.
Runestones and Picture Stones in Scandinavia
Pictures of runestones in northern Europe
Runes´n´ruins - a casual cultural guide to west Sweden
The Ruthwell Cross - Dumfriesshire. England.
The History and Magic of Runestones by KveldulfR Gundarsson
NCCH Rune Project
Runes in Bergen
Svenska Runstenar och Runinskrifter (in Swedish, but lots of pictures)
Stonepages Guide to European Megaliths
Kalle Runristare - A genuine runestone carver from Sweden. See how a markerstone is carved.
Halfdan's Swedish Runestones - Another runestone carver in Sweden, who will make one to your order.
Runic Silks - Valentina Kuprina makes and sells beautiful silk scarves with designs from actual Swedish rune stones. Photos of the original stones are also shown.